#MeToo movement thought to have been factor in rise of reported sex crimes

#MeToo movement thought to have been factor in rise of reported sex crimes

It has been claimed that the #MeToo movement could be behind a rise in the number of sex crimes being reported.

The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show there has been a 10% rise in the last year, with 272 more allegations of a sexual offence reported in the year ending June 2018.

There were also rises in serious assaults, robberies and aggravated burglaries.

Labour Senator Ivana Bacik says the increase, particularly in rape offences, is very worrying.

Senator Bacik said: "We don't know for sure if that rise means there has been a rise in the actual carrying out of sexual offences in the last year or more victims are coming forward.

"There have been a lot of high-profile cases in the last year with the Me Too movement and, of course, with the Belfast rape trial which would have highlighted many victim's issues they might have thought to forget about for some time."

Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD said the data highlights the necessity to support victims of sexual offences.

"It is apparent from these figures that there are worrying trends emerging whereby violent crime is becoming a normal feature of society," he said.

"In order to combat effectively this trend the Government needs to establish a strategy in collaboration with An Garda Síochana – one that focuses on early intervention, crime prevention and robust law enforcement.

"Gardaí will also require the resources for this strategy to be properly realised. The Confidence and Supply arrangement committed to increasing the strength of the Gardaí to 15,000 but this is only one element of delivering the necessary resources to Gardaí.

The data reveals that there has been a significant rise in sexual offences. This may be a result of more victims being willing to come forward and report a rape or sexual offence. However, there is also the possibility that this rise reflects an actual increase in sexual offences.

"It's a very worrying trend and there are a number of crucial steps that Government can, and must take, to address this.

"These should include providing detailed training to equip Gardaí to properly investigate and prosecute crimes of this complexity, and better State funding to essential services, such as Rape Crisis Centres.

"We also need to conduct vigorous research into the actual incidence of sexual crimes in Ireland. The Government needs to progress this research as an absolute priority."

- Digital Desk

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